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Avian flu, rabies among topics of infectious disease conference at Illinois

Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Asian bird flu and rabies will be among the topics April 21-22 (Thursday-Friday) during the eighth annual Conference on New and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases hosted by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Asian bird flu has killed at least 47 people in Southeast Asia, and although rabies in domestic animals is extremely rare, Illinois had 50 cases documented in wild animals – all in bats – in 2004. Two cases in domestic animals in Illinois have been reported in the last four months, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Lynn Enquist, professor and chair of molecular biology at Princeton University, will give the opening address at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana. Enquist is an expert on herpesvirus pathogensis.

Friday’s sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Levis Faculty Center.

Morning talks are sponsored by the Center for Zoonoses Research at the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Environmental Council and will feature David Williams of Illinois State University, Ana Calvo of Northern Illinois University, Marcia Castro of the University of South Carolina and Carmel Ruffolo of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Afternoon talks on avian influenza and rabies are sponsored by the CZR and the Conservation Medicine Center of Chicago. Global perspectives will be given by Alessandro Mannelli of Italy’s Universita degli Studi di Torino, Peter Clyne of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Asian Program, Thomas Muller of Germany’s Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, and Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University.

Additional conference information, including registration, is available online, or by contacting Debra Domal, research program coordinator of the Center for Zoonoses Research, by phone at 217-265-8511.